UJ alumnus Stephen Cook has hit SA cricket for a six
South African Test cricketer Stephen Cook is not
only a modern day sporting icon, but has also excelled in the world of
academia. One of the few professional sportsmen in South Africa with a
university degree from a world class institution,
hard work and dedication are the hallmarks of his accomplishment.
Even in high school, Stephen pushed for both sporting and academic achievement. He attended King Edward VII High School, where he met longtime friend and Stormers prolific winger, Bryan Habana. Stephen began his BCom LLB at what was then Randse Afrikaanse Universiteit in 2003 – but by the time he graduated, the university had merged with Teknikon Witwatersrand and Vista University to form the University of Johannesburg (UJ). As a part of the UJ cricket team, Stephen was already a stand out cricketer being the first player to score a double century for UJ Cricket Club and a personal best of three double centuries for UJ. To this day, only one other player has managed to equal his achievement.
With all of his sporting determination, he never let it affect his studies, his UJ club cricket coach, Karel Mouton, remembers that "Neil would bring along books and studied in the clubhouse if he got out as the opener". He recognized the importance of preparing for a future beyond his first love, cricket. "To me, Stephan's dedication and loyalty to the club stood out," says Coach Mouton. "He kept wicket for us when there was no wicket keeper on the day. He bowled medium pace when the bowlers ran out of steam and was always available to play club cricket."